Quote: “Kill, Survive, Escape, It’s between you and The Other 99”
It’s not very often that I get genuinely excited about an indie game, don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud believer that the majority of indie games out there are actually better than most AAA games, and usually the developers and publishers put more time and effort into them to ensure that they’re enjoyable and playable to the best that their budgets and technology will allow them too, but The Other 99 is a little different.
You see back when I had ambition, I really wanted to begin developing and designing my own indie games in the hopes of earning a little extra money on the side and contributing towards the industry that has brought me so many years of happiness and enjoyment, and one of the ideas that I had was a hunger games meets battle royale type game of survival, which is, in a nutshell what The Other 99 is. It’s a game full of brutal combat, stealth, puzzles and exploration, oh and survival, let’s not forget the survival part, or else it’ll be a very short game for you.
The Other 99 is a single player, first person action survival game which pits your character against 99 other people in an action packed showdown. It’s still in the early ages of development, but as soon as I heard about it, I knew that I had to get a slice of the action, the whole concept of the game just sounds so incredible that, well it had to be done!
The game is developed by Burning Arrow, and published by Deck13, and whilst both aren’t fairly noticible titles, I genuinely believe that this game will be the start of getting them onto the road of success. So let’s just go ahead and jump right into it!
When you first load up the game, you’ll be marooned on an island with a note in front of you that reads “The only way off the island is through The Other 99”. A pretty grim assessment, but yes, you will have to find and eliminate the other 99 people who are stranded on this island, it really is as simple as that, but naturally it wouldn’t be a survival based game without a few key elements.
Opening up your survival guide will explain how your supposed to play, and a key aspect of this is knowing how to keep your character happy so that you can work to maximum efficiency. You will have a bar for hunger, which when full will allow your character to restore as much health as possible and recover from injuries faster, a bar for health, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain but does work in conjunction with your hunger (so you’ll only be able to heal yourself as much as your full up on berries and apples). Below that you have a bar for energy and water, which is essentially the same deal as hunger and health, so whilst throwing yourself into one on one fist fights may be a great idea, it’s really not, and keeping yourself full and hydrated is sometimes the key to victory.
Naturally, as you progress more and more into the game, you’ll begin to learn more about how you were stranded, different people who have been on the island for a bit longer and have made certain areas their home, conflicts between different islanders etc. It’s only natural, as the game adds a puzzle element to the game in order to try and come up with a different way off the island rather than going around and hacking everyone to bits.
The only downside to this is, and I don’t know if it was something that I was doing wrong or if I’m just too inexperienced at this point, but say for example I found a letter which told me to go to a cave next to a beach as another islander wanted to gather people to try and find a way off the island, when I went there, I casually strolled in, looking as innocent as possible and was then attacked. Now I’m not sure if the islander I’d just killed was the one trying to help others out, but they certainly didn’t seem very friendly when they were waving a wooden stake in my eyes. A few axe cleaves later, and I think I’ve just ruined my only chance of getting off the island… great.
As I mentioned above, The Other 99 is still in development, and whilst it’s not necessarily the most developed game at the moment, it still has a great concept towards it, and has some real promise if they can sort out the minor niggly bits before it goes live and begins selling like hot cakes.
The puzzles are actually quite difficult, and whilst they’re not really based on logic as such, they are based on going to certain locations and getting items. I’m not entirely sure if this is because the games still in development or because I’m just a complete and utter failure at life in general, but nothing I seemed to do actually worked towards solving anything, so I just ended up randomly hunting strangers and falling off ledges… Probably not what the developers had in mind when they created their game, but hey, each to their own guys!
The emphasis on survival is real, and it’s pretty apparent in this game right off the bat. If you don’t keep an eye on your character and your surroundings then you will die, it’s as simple as that I’m afraid. Water is a luxery and food is practically non existing and the fact those are linked to your health and ability to fight just makes things a lot more difficult when trying to take on a couple of enemies at a time, so be stealthy and be careful.
Whilst it’s still in development, there is an option for you to be able to craft items and equipment at this moment in time, whilst the menu doesn’t say anything specific except for “coming soon” it would be a great addition to the game to be able to cobble together a giant wooden chainsaw from elastic bands and wooden stakes… Maybe not practical, but still I can’t see any reason why your 2 torches couldn’t be fashioned into some two handed flaming staff of death, so this is definitely a welcome addition when it’s added.
The graphics are, well pretty amazing actually, but then again I did have to drastically reduce all of the visual settings to be able to actually play it (keep in mind I’m on a 2 year old laptop). Whilst they are beautiful, a bit more detail needs to go into the character development, as all the islanders look somewhat identical, apart from a couple of outfits.
The sound is great from the start, you’ll hear constant island noises, lightning, rain, water etc. The list really goes on and on, and whislt the other islanders voices can be a tad annoying with their cockney British accents, the sound is definitely off to a positive start with this kind of game. I wouldn’t really change a thing about it, except maybe throw a few more British accents in, mainly because I’d love the idea of a geordie running full pelt at me, swinging around an axe and shouting gibberish… Just like my University days…
Whilst there are still some bugs, as I said, the game has a great concept and I’ll be very eager to find out how The Other 99 goes through it’s development stages and to see the finalized products. It’s off to a good start already and with the right pair of hands I think it’ll do very well for itself as an independent game. It definitely has all the right ideas and whilst it’s not quite there yet, with a bit more time on the development of the game and sorting out a few fixes, it’ll definitely be a game worth playing
Overall, I found The Other 99 to be an entertaining and fun play. It had me on my toes, it had me questioning where I was and it even has some casual swearing (score!). Whilst it’s still in it’s pre-release stage, it may not necessarily be for you unless you have the patience to deal with the odd bug now and again, if not then I’d strongly suggest that you give it a go when it’s out, provided it’s released correctly then it’ll definitely be a worth contender for any of your top standalone indie games and whilst the score I’ve given it is based on it’s pre-release, it definitely has the potential to become a 10/10 game.